We now live an exceptionally accessible era, our doctor appears on our screens, we can settle down and binge on 10 episodes of one series in one hit if we so wish, our food arrives steaming hot at our door from just the tap of a button. We live in a time of convenience and ease, what impact does this have on our mental wellbeing, and how does this correlate with our working lives?
Freelancing is so wonderful for work-life balance. Allowing you to fit in whatever commitments you have without any time restrictions.”
- Lucy Skoulding, Freelance Journalist
For some, this level of accessibility works well and the phenomenon of freelance working and being your own boss is becoming the norm. But, if you break it down, it’s a way of rewriting the conventional working day - no longer does everyone clock in at 9 and head off at 5. Some people have the versatility to work the hours they want to which then allows them to live their lives they way they want to. Robyn Vinter, Founder and Editor-In-Chief of The Overtake commented on running her own business, and the impact it has on her mental wellbeing; “When things are good, running your own business gives you freedom which helps your mental wellbeing, but equally when things aren't going well you can feel as trapped as you might if you worked for someone else.
“When you run your own business you never really switch off. You might be watching TV or at the beach but on some level you're still thinking about what needs to be done at work or worrying about paying staff.”
Tuesday was suddenly no longer just the second day of the week. A day I could have poached eggs as I read my emails. A day I didn’t have to go and have a 10-minute talk to myself in the work loos after feeling inconsolable because I didn’t like the tone I used when speaking to someone.”
- Carl, cited on Time To Talk website
Lucy Skoulding is a Journalist, who works part time for a publication, and the rest of the time is freelance, we spoke to her about the impact this has upon her life. Lucy said: “My schedule can be completely all over the place, but I love it! It means every day is fresh and different. Freelancing is so wonderful for work-life balance because it allows you to fit in whatever commitments you have without any time restrictions. However with freelancing the most important thing I've discovered is to keep a routine as far as possible.”
But, when we consider working for an employer, versatility and a more fluid way of working seems to be the increasing normal routine for the UK workforce. Working from home, having flexible hours to be able to manage a work life balance is becoming increasingly expected within companies. Having these options have been linked with increasing your levels of good mental wellbeing, an article published on mental health charity’s website Time To Change, detailed about the mental health benefits a man called Carl experienced when he changed up his working routine and began working from home every Tuesday. Carl said: “For me, depression does not just bring a deep, seemingly irremovable sadness painted across the surface of everything I enjoy and love, it also brings with it a rage. A rage pointed directly at me. My line-manager started to notice I wasn’t doing too well, The solution we came to was me working from home on Tuesdays.
“It might sound like a simple thing, but I think Tuesdays have saved my life. It was suddenly no longer just the second day of the week. Tuesdays are great, but not magic – however just knowing there’s a day that I can nurture my wellbeing and be a little selfish is so, so useful.”
“Working flexibly allows me to be a mum with a career instead of literally careering through motherhood.”
- Ilana Bernstein, User Engagement (CRM) Manager, 87%
Have you ever felt like Carl? If so, it’s ok and maybe it’s time to talk to your manager and see if there is a way you can work more productively and happier having designed your own working schedule. For parents, the acknowledgement of being able to work flexibly can be the difference between whether they accept the job in the first place, having those formative years with a child are years that you’ll never get back and if your place of work can accommodate this and give you the level of flexibility to make this happen. It will not only give those parents a level of support and happiness, but on the whole could really improve employee retention. Working mum and User Engagement (CRM) Manager, 87% Ilana Bernstein commented saying: “Working flexibly allows me to be a mum with a career instead of literally careering through motherhood.”